Thursday, September 30, 2010

Darkness falls. Enjoy.

Check out 11:11 Theatre Company’s Poe adaptations and then drop into the Gallows to quench your thirst
When it came time to decide among the stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe to adapt for the stage, Brian Tuttle, artistic director of the South End-based 11:11 Theatre Company, gravitated toward the darker side. “It’s set in October, so I thought it would be appropriate to have a wonderfully eerie show,’’ he says of the new production, “Poe; a fever dream.’’

“We mostly went with the macabre,’’ Tuttle says. That includes such classics as “The Tell-Tale Heart,’’ “The Fall of the House of Usher,’’ and “The Cask of Amontillado.’’

“The idea behind it is to produce it in such a way that it feels like being in one of Poe’s stories, kind of like a fever-dream nightmare.’’

Tuttle says they were intent on reproducing the feel of Poe’s grim scenarios through atmosphere. “ ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ is a beautifully written story, but it’s much more enthralling when you’re watching [the characters] in this house and hearing the moans of his not-dead sister.’’
All of the 11 actors in the ensemble play recurring roles throughout, which lends a fluidity to the borders of the stories. “Thematic strands keep coming back. . . . You get the full effect of what he was obsessed with.’’

“Poe; a fever dream’’ opens tonight. 8 p.m. $17. The Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont St., Boston.
One thing that obsessed Poe was drinking. He might have appreciated the concept behind the nearby gastropub the Gallows, with its tongue-in-cheek name and decor, when it came time for an evening tipple. It is located in the South End, near where Boston’s gallows once stood. “We’re right by the site of many hangings of Colonial pickpockets and murderers and the like,’’ says manager Francie Dorman. The area was also once referred to as the Boston Neck, an isthmus connecting Boston to Roxbury. “We thought that was a funny play on words for the Gallows, too,’’ she says.

Taxidermy ravens throughout and creepy touches like a headless dress form and large windows up front overlooking the foreboding Cathedral of the Holy Cross add to the feel. The cocktails riff off that theme, with offerings like the Elisabeth Aplegate (made with gin, hyssop syrup, absinthe, cucumber, and lemon). She was a Boston woman publicly punished for going crazy in public, Dorman says. Other cocktails like the Killer and the Chupacabra invoke madness as well. Too scary? Don’t be alarmed, Dorman says. “We’re very welcoming in our creepiness.’’

The Gallows, 1395 Washington St., Boston. 617-425-0200.

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